Past, present and future

Chico’s gay center— 15 years and going strong

The Stonewall Alliance Center of Chico is named for the Stonewall riots that occurred in New York City in June of 1969. The riots happened after a series of police raids on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar. On the night of June 27, the gay patrons of the bar resisted a police raid, and the riots began. This event is considered a turning point in the gay rights movement.

The local center was formed as a grassroots organization in 1990 to create a space for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Butte County and Northern California. In 1995 the Stonewall Alliance Center moved its offices to its current location in the Waterland-Breslauer building.

Stonewall’s goal is to provide information and services that promote the physical, psychological and social health of the LGBT community.

The center offers information and referral services. This is especially helpful to people who are new to the area and are looking for local businesses that are accepting of gay people. The center hosts weekly social groups, workshops and seminars, health outreach, and offers information for youth, parents and family.

A testament to the success of the center is the Chico Freedom Fest that was started in 1990. The event became so successful that it spun off into a new event, the Chico Pride Fest, and continues to be the premier pride event for rural Northern California. Attendance averages between 1,000 and 1,500.

Stonewall will be celebrating its 15th anniversary next June. The center will be throwing open its doors and hosting a weekend-long celebration.

Looking to the future, Stonewall sees satellite offices in Oroville, Red Bluff and Redding.